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Glencore’s view of events
Claims the CFMEU don’t “care if we are out for another 150 days”
Wednesday 29 November 2017  

Mining company Glencore has disputed the CFMEU’s description of events at last week's Oaky North Enterprise Agreement meeting.

CFMEU District Vice President Chris Brodsky told Shift Miner that the negotiations had “gone to shit”.

“We went, willing to move a little bit on the big hitter issues like workplace representation and the disputes clauses, but they responded by saying they wanted a whole lot of other smaller things included as well, that they had previously conceded,” he said last week.

“So the result is that we are further apart.”

However, in a statement to Shift Miner, Glencore said it had offered to accommodate several requests made by the CFMEU but says the union was unwilling to work toward a resolution.

“It's [the CFMEU's] position has remained unchanged for the past 2½ years despite the cost to employees," they said.

“Glencore is particularly disturbed by a comment from one of the CFMEU delegates this week that the union “does not care if we are out for another 150 days".

“The CFMEU fails to grasp that changes to the 2012 Enterprise Agreement are vital for Oaky North to have a productive, efficient and long-term future in a challenging global coal market, and maintaining the status quo is not an option.   

“The Oaky Creek coal complex and the Oaky North mine have changed substantially since 2012, and as such, Oaky North’s future is reliant on negotiating a modern, flexible agreement to remain viable over the long-term.”

Under the Fair Work Act, both employers and employees have levers they can pull to influence negotiations during an enterprise negotiation. The employees can go on strike, while the employer can lock out the workforce and both actions can be classified as protected by the Fair Work Commission, meaning they are not illegal.

Glencore also challenged the CFMEU’s assertion that the lockout of striking workers for more than a hundred days was in response to just 6400 hours of strike action.

“Mr Brodsky’s claim that we began response action after the loss of 6,400 work hours is incorrect,” they said.

“In fact, our response action followed more than 34,000 lost work hours due to CFMEU-initiated industrial action that resulted in significant losses.”

“Mr Brodsky also fails to recognise that Oaky North continues to produce coal as it was before the start of industrial action by the union.  

“Modern agreements similar to the proposed EA at Oaky North have already been negotiated and agreed by the CFMEU at other sites, both at Glencore operations and at those of other mining companies in Australia.

“We urge Mr Brodsky to acknowledge this reality and consider the best outcome for his members and their families, the people he claims to be fighting for.”

According to the CFMEU, short of a resolution between the two parties, the only thing that can end the lockout now is a Federal Government intervention or a new ruling by the Fair Work Commissioner. They say it's now the longest lockout of employees in Australian history.


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